Nate Phelps, son the son Fred, says his family’s Westboro Baptist Church engages in a “twisted thought process.” It’s enough to make you think Nate doesn’t approve of his father’s creation!
“Estranged” is perhaps too light a word to describe Nate’s relationship with his anti-gay family, known for their performance art. In what’s billed as his first television interview, Nate tells Peter Klein of Canada’s The Standard that growing up under Fred was all “about the religion,” complete with “corporal punishments” for “anything [including] not paying attention in church.” That includes Fred beating his wife (Nate’s mother). The beatings would sometimes “last for hours.” Then there was the part where he forced his seven- and eight-year-old kids to running marathon distances. Nate says he grew up “terrified of” his father.
But might, at the end of all of this, there be reason to believe Fred Phelps himself is a giant homo? Likely not, says Nate. “I don’t have anything that I can specifically point to. I’ve heard that kind of argument. There just isn’t anything there in my own experiences that would suggest that. In fact, there was no discussion about sexuality in any sense beyond that condemnation behind the pulpit.”
If you’ve got the time, watch this whole interview. Because while Fred’s granddaughter Megan offers entertaining interviews, Nate is the first to truly put these teachings in context.